Mental Illness And Ethnocentrism By Susan Abbott And Ruben Klein

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Mental Illness and Ethnocentrism
As a psychology major, I have been very curious to see what conclusions we can make about the human mind when looking through an anthropological lens. Naturally, when presented with the opportunity to look at anthropological research of my own choosing, I looked for something with strong psychological implications. I chose to examine an article written by Susan Abbott and Ruben Klein titled Depression and Anxiety among Rural Kikuyu in Kenya. Although it was a very interesting read, the conclusions Abbott and Klein made about depression and anxiety were based on comparisons between Western and Kikuyu cultural standards, which is ethnocentric and does not allow us to form legitimate claims unless additional information is given.
The article began by giving the reader information about depression based research in Africa, of which there has been very little. This set precedence for the study itself, explaining why it was important. The people of Kangongo, a rural Kikuyu community, made up the study sample. In Kangongo, the people live on homesteads and many engage in horticultural activity as their main source of income. Men and women have very different day-to-day lives and are not extremely socially connected, even in marriages. There are very few opposite-sex friendships or interactions past young childhood. Men are considered to be deservedly superior to women. Wife-beatings are common and women are very dependent on their husbands. It is…

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